The Rams are on the Move

Well, it’s official. The St. Louis Rams are moving to Los Angeles. As a resident of Los Angeles, I am stoked! Jazzed! Thrilled, even. After all, it’s about flippin’ time the NFL came back to LA. We’ve been waiting for soooo long. More jobs for SoCal dancers – woot! I love it!

However, as a contributor to this blog, I know this is bittersweet. Sweet for LA, but very bitter for St. Louis. My heart aches for the current squad of Rams Cheerleaders, for the people who run the Cheerleaders program, and for all the little girls in St. Louis who dreamed of growing up to become one. It is a huge loss for them.

How this will work out all remains to be seen. How will the Rams Cheerleader program change here in LA? Will there be a new director? A new look? A whole new direction? I guess we’ll find out soon enough. After all, auditions must go on!

Here they were, the last time we saw them. What will the 2016 Los Angeles Rams Cheerleaders photo look like?
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The Embraceable Ewes, L.A.’s First Pro Cheerleaders, Reunite

The 1978 Los Angeles Rams cheer squad didn’t just stand on the sidelines

By Joshua Neuman
LAMAG.com

At the Boathouse on the Bay restaurant in Long Beach, just three miles south of where the Los Angeles Rams once held practice, more than 50 of the team’s former cheerleaders gathered last Sunday to celebrate the 1978 squad—Los Angeles’ first professional cheerleaders. One of them, Janet Cournoyer, had lent her daughter Janelle Liebl, 25, her old outfit for the occasion. “She’s the exact age I was when I wore it, and it fits perfectly,” she beamed.

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“Everything is coming full circle with all this talk about the Rams coming back,” said David Mirisch, the man behind the gathering and the establishment of the group of cheerleaders he named the Embraceable Ewes. “It was a good time for a reunion.”

The Ewes were the Laker Girls before there were Laker Girls, but the restaurant’s Sunday afternoon regulars went back and forth between NFL games being televised behind the bar—less interested in NFL past than present. They neither recognized the women hugging each other like long lost relatives nor the impact those women collectively had upon the city of Los Angeles, the sports world, and American popular culture.

“Some of us actually cheered for the Lakers,” said Kristi Wheeler, a member of the original ’78 squad. “The Lakers didn’t have cheerleaders yet, so some of us went over there and cheered in the gold and the blue. I think the Lakers wanted to test it out.” Jerry Buss green-lit the formation of the Laker Girls months later.

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The rest of the article and more photos here.

Former cheerleader returns to home field

Jessica Guzman of Camarillo, right, will perform on Sunday during an NFL halftime show in St. Louis when the Rams take on the Jacksonville Jaguars. The former Rams cheerleader will be joined by her daughters, Kira, 11, and Kaylee, 15.

Jessica Guzman and her daughters to perform in Rams halftime show
By Stephanie Guzman
The Camarillo Acorn
October 4, 2013

Sports jerseys, baseball caps and photos adorn the walls of the Guzman family’s game room, but their most prized piece of sports memorabilia may well be the photo of Jessica Guzman, a Camarillo mother of three.

In the framed photo, Guzman (no relation to the reporter) is a bubbly 20-year-old football cheerleader dressed in a formfitting blue and gold uniform. The year is 1994—the Rams’ last year in Los Angeles before their move to St. Louis—and the first year the Camarillo native was part of the cheerleading team.

The Rio Mesa grad had auditioned for the Rams on a whim after she was turned down by the San Francisco 49ers. She was a dancer and thought being a professional cheerleader would be fun and give her the opportunity to earn some extra money.

Between practices, she worked as a bank teller and dance coach at Thousand Oaks High School.

“I didn’t make much money; it was more of an honor,” said Guzman, 39.

“When we would cheer, we had some paid appearances at charity events, and I also worked for the Rams organization by scheduling all the cheer appearances.”

The following year, Guzman moved to Missouri. She was the only Los Angeles cheerleader to follow the team to the Midwest. It seemed like an exciting opportunity at the time, but it was tough being away from her family and her hometown.

In fact, she missed her family in California so much, she left the team after a year in St. Louis.

She moved home, met the man who would soon become her husband and went back into banking. She now works as the vice president of operations at CFC Mortgage, where she manages a staff of 20 people in Ventura County.

But the photos hanging in her home remind her of the days of Sunday night football, televised games and roaring crowds.

Guzman has had a few opportunities to dust off her pompoms as part of the Rams’ annual “Cheer for the Cure” event, a four-year-old program that has alumni cheerleaders performing a routine during the game’s halftime show.

And she brings her family with her to St. Louis. Her two daughters join her for the halftime performance.

Kaylee Guzman, 15, is a sophomore at Adolfo Camarillo High School, and her 11-year-old sister, Kira, is a sixth-grader at Los Primeros.

Both girls are dancers, and Kaylee is a junior varsity cheer captain at Camarillo High.

The family has been practicing a seven-minute routine all week that Guzman and her daughters will perform with about 60 other alumni and youth cheerleaders in front of 60,000 people during the Rams’ Oct. 6 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Edward Jones Dome.

The annual performance helps the National Football League raise money for breast cancer research in recognition of breast cancer awareness month in October, during which players wear pink on the field.

Guzman said the alumni event, in which the family will participate for the third year, allows her to perform with her daughters.

“Dancing was my thing, but when you become a mom you don’t get those same opportunities to go out and perform,” she said.

Kaylee said it’s fun being able to perform alongside her mom and see a side of her that she’s only imagined from old photos.

“I look up to my mom,” she said.

The teen will cheer during Camarillo High’s junior varsity football game tonight and take the red-eye flight to Missouri with her father to join her mother, sister and 12-year-old brother, Kai.

The girls will practice their routine on Saturday before Sunday’s game, when the two generations will help Cheer for the Cure.

Photo of the Day – November 27


St Louis Rams Cheerleader Captain Shannon

From the Archives

This is a slow time of the year for me, the weeks before the NFL season starts, so I am inaugurating a new segment entitled “From the Archives”.  I have been photographing cheerleaders since my college days (a very long time ago) and have accumulated many photos that I would like to share with our readers.  So, in this first installment, let’s take a look at the Los Angeles Rams from the mid to late 1980’s.

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Check out the head band and the fishnets!  The only thing missing are leg warmers.  Gotta love the ’80s fashions.